Tap-and-pay technology has come to Summit County
May 22, 2015
Even a decade ago, the thought of people pulling out phones with screens the size of their palms and tapping them against a checkout terminal to pay at the grocery store instead of swiping credit cards would have been ludicrous.
But in the technology age, it seems, all things are possible. In recent years, cell phone giants Google and Apple have harnessed Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to make mobile "tap-and-pay" payments commonplace.
The trend has arrived in Park City, with several retailers in the area offering tap-and-pay capability. But Rob Greene, owner of Credit Card Service of Utah, which provides point-of-sale terminals and software to local retailers, said just because the technology is here doesn’t mean usage has exploded quite yet.
"I just don’t think it’s quite popular yet in Park City," he said. "Despite the fact we’re a world-class ski resort town, we’re still a relatively provincial town in one of the most provincial states in the country. If you were in the Bay Area, the technology hotbed of the world, you probably couldn’t go anywhere without being surrounded by people using tap-and-pay from their phones."
However, while shoppers may not take full advantage, the technology is likely to become commonplace in Summit County in the coming months. Greene said most retailers in town will likely soon update their payment terminals to ones that allow tap-and-pay, costing anywhere from $300 to $700 per terminal.
But tap-and-pay isn’t the driving force behind the new terminals, Greene said. Instead, it’s because the major credit card companies are supporting a policy shift beginning in October that will make merchants that don’t accept chip-enabled credit cards liable for fraudulent usage of cards with magnetic strips. Most terminals that support chip-enabled cards also support tap-and-pay.
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"The new chip cards are the big thing," said Greene, who has already updated the terminals of several retailers in town. "But tap-and-pay will come right along with it."
Doug Dastrup, manager of the Fresh Market at 1760 Park Ave., said all Fresh Market locations have been outfitted with terminals that accept tap-and-pay. The trend seems to be catching on, slowly but surely.
"As more people find out about it, more people are trying it out and doing it," he said, adding his store’s capability went live in April. "I think it will become more and more popular. I think it’s definitely more convenient. It’s a benefit for those that like more electronic-type items. A lot of people don’t always carry a wallet around with them, so that makes it easier for them."
Greene and Dastrup agreed the millennial generation is leading the way when it comes to tap-and-pay. But they’re not the only ones who value the convenience.
"People of any age that are more inclined to use technology will want to do it," Dastrup said.
However, don’t expect paying with plastic to go away anytime soon.
"They said checks and cash were going to be gone by now and they’re not," Greene said, adding retailers are charged the same fees when customers use tap-and-pay as when they swipe a card. "Not everybody wants to use new technology."